Published December 02, 2008
If John Kerry was hoping to be part of President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet, he'll almost certainly have to settle for the consolation prize: a powerful chairmanship in the U.S. Senate.
The Massachusetts senator, who endorsed Obama early in the presidential campaign, was left out of the mix Monday when the president-elect announced his national security team, giving shape to two-thirds of his cabinet.
Kerry -- who ran for president in 2004 and lost by 34 electoral votes -- made Obama the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention that year, helping make Obama, who was running for Senate in Illinois, a rising star within his party. Four years later, Kerry became a staunch supporter of Obama and became one of his top surrogates.
In the days following the Nov. 4 election, Kerry was rumored to be on Obama's short list for a post within the new administration -- including the highly coveted position of secretary of state, which Obama gave to Hillary Clinton.
Soon after the official announcements were made on Monday, Kerry issued a statement praising the picks -- appointments that he will preside over in confirmation hearings when he replaces Vice President-elect Joe Biden as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"President-Elect Obama has chosen a terrific national security team to protect our security and help restore America's rightful place in the world," Kerry said in a press release.
"As the incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I look forward to working with my distinguished colleague Sen. Richard Lugar to ensure a swift and fair confirmation process and working closely with the new Administration," he added.
Kerry said Clinton will "bring her years of experience and her remarkable intellect to the effort to restore our alliances and advance the President's agenda in the world."
But there is reason to suspect that Kerry might have preferred a high-profile position within the Obama administration.
"If the president calls me and asks me to talk to him about something, I'm going to talk to him," Kerry told reporters on election night. "Whatever I am going to do, I am going to keep faith in what I've been fighting for," he said.
In the days following Obama's victory, Kerry's name surfaced in Democratic circles as a potential front-runner for secretary of state -- though the senator later refuted rumors that he was actively pursuing the position.
Kerry spokeswoman Whitney Smith told FOXNews.com that his focus remains on the Senate seat he has held since 1985 -- and on his new role as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee during a time of global crises.
"Senator Kerry will be a leading Senate voice as the incoming chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and will continue to support Democratic campaigns and causes," she said.
Smith dismissed speculation that Kerry was actively lobbying for a position within the Cabinet, saying, "The only position Senator Kerry was campaigning for was the one he already has."
"He was humbled to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate by the people of Massachusetts, and that was the only role he was actively seeking," Smith said.
There is no evidence to suggest that Kerry was considered for secretary of state.
Obama invited Clinton to his Chicago home on Nov. 13 -- nine days after the Election -- to discuss the possibility of her serving in that role. No such meeting between Obama and Kerry ever took place, Democratic sources told FOX News.
"John Kerry is not a voice of centrism in the party," said Georgetown University government professor Christopher Hull. "He leans more left than the people Obama has chosen so far."
Hull said the need for diversity within the cabinet also might have been reason to discount Kerry for a top post.
"He doesn't bring any of the diversity that this administration appears to be focused on," he said. "He's a white male. He's not female. He's not Hispanic. He's not African-American and there are advocacy groups on all sides pushing Obama to pick people from these groups, and you just can't ignore that," Hull said.
With a handful of cabinet positions remaining, including secretary of veterans affairs, Kerry could still be named for a domestic post -- though the Obama campaign has declined to comment on future announcements.
"He is a decorated war hero from Vietnam. He is a man of great standing. His bid for the nomination was propelled in part by support from veterans and he is certainly someone that one might consider for that post," Hull said.